Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Test of concealed gun law begins

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Chuck Klein, a private investigator, is suing to overturn the Ohio's concealed weapons law.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Ohio's concealed weapons law will face its first serious challenge this week in a Hamilton County courtroom. It will not be the last.

        The Hamilton County case is the beginning of a legal crusade that gun activists hope will overturn the law in all 88 Ohio counties.

        The goal is to convince a Hamilton County judge the law is unconstitutional, and then use that victory to convince judges in every other county.

        “Hamilton County will be the model,” says Chuck Klein, a private investigator in Cincinnati.

        Mr. Klein is one of four Cincinnatians who have sued to overturn the law, which prohibits everyone except law enforcement officers from carrying guns.

        They say the law is unfair because it makes criminals of law-abiding citizens who need to carry guns for protection.

  Tell us what you think about gun laws
        Defenders of the law say Mr. Klein and his fellow activists will put lives at risk if they succeed in throwing out the law.

        On Thursday, Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman will begin hearing arguments that will decide the law's fate.

        A trial is scheduled for October.

        As the legal showdown drew near, the Enquirer gathered four experts and activists to talk about the political and personal issues that define this controversial case.

        Two of the participants, Mr. Klein and county Prosecutor Mike Allen, are on opposite sides of the case. The other two share a great interest in the gun-control debate.

        They are Christo Lassiter, a former military prosecutor who now teaches constitutional law at the University of Cincinnati, and community activist Tom Jones, who heads a task force dedicated to reducing gun violence in Avondale.

Tell us what you think about gun laws
Round-table exchange on concealed weapons
Public opinion on gun control

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